Sustainable and eco-friendly Singaporean fashion brands to add to your shopping list: Esse, Oliveankara, Zerrin, and more

Sustainable and eco-friendly Singaporean fashion brands to add to your shopping list: Esse, Oliveankara, Zerrin, and more


Text: Ho Guo Xiong

Image: Instagram | @essethelabel | @sourcecollections

Singapore might just be a small dot on the map, but we’re not lacking in options on the sustainable fashion front. We’d previously professed our love for international labels that commit to the green cause and now, we’re shouting out the local labels that have made it their mission to clean up the earth while dressing us stylishly.


Who they are: Designer Elvynd Soh created Qlothè (pronounced klo-they) in 2015 with the ethos of creating modern silhouettes with an eclectic charm. 
What they are known for: This year, Qlothè promised to place sustainability at the heart of their work. As a result, the brand incorporates greener fabrics such as Tencel Lyocell and ProVicose. Moreover, with the recently dropped Arbor collection, Qlothè has initiated the ‘Buy A Piece, Plant A Tree’ programme with PM Haze to support reforestation efforts in the peatlands of Sungai Tohor.  
Where to get them: Qlothè is available online, at Design Orchard and The Naturally Better Company in Millenia Walk.


Who they are: Former visual merchandiser Yvonne Chia started WoonHung in 2004. The jewellery label works with, and supports cottage industries and traditional craftsmen in Cebu, Philippines. 
What they are known for: WoonHung utilises sustainably sourced natural materials such as wood beads made from branches (instead of trees) and coconut shells to create their handmade designs. WoonHung also has a no-waste philosophy and sources materials from Go Green Philippines, an environmental program that plants new trees in place of those that were cut down. 
Where to get them: Besides their online store, WoonHung is also stocked at Gallery & Co. at National Gallery and Essential Extra Gift Shop at OUE Downtown Gallery.

Salient Label

Who they are: A marketer by training, Lim Yi Chin started Salient Label in 2015 as a multi-label online boutique before transitioning to creating in-house designs. 
What they are known for: Salient Label prides itself for its minimal and understated approach to dressing and styling. The brand also works with manufacturers located in the same area as where the fabrics are produced to reduce their carbon footprint. 
Where to get them: Salient Label is available on their website, Isetan Scotts, and Naiise boutiques.

Source Collection

Who they are: Vincent Ooi worked in the luxury watch and jewellery industry before starting Source Collection in 2016 with a mission to create premium basics. Think: T-shirts and underwear at accessible prices. 
What they are known for: Not only do Source Collections use Tencel and organic cotton, the brand also advocates transparency by being upfront about the manufacturers they partner with. Their T-shirts are also cut to fit the slimmer Asian physique. 
Where to get them: Source Collections is available on their website.


Who they are: Cancer researcher Ifeoma Ubby started Oliveankara in 2017 after encountering difficulties sourcing for Ankara, a colourful African fabric made with batik-influenced methods, after she had moved to Singapore from Italy.   
What they are known for: Besides the colourful fabrics that just about uses every colour of the rainbow, Oliveankara keeps their wastes to the minimum. Up to 97% of the fabrics are used to make the clothing, while the leftovers are converted into headwraps, headbands, and fabric jewellery. Each design is made in limited quantities. 
Where to get them: Oliveankara is available on their website. They have a showroom in Tiong Bahru.


Who they are: Fashion designer Alicia Tsi started Esse in 2017 with the intention of creating thoughtful designs with sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and upcycled materials. 
What they are known for: Esse takes a pared-down approach and prides quality over quantity. Consequently, their designs are understated and modern. Esse also works with factories that have proven record of fair and ethical working environments. 
Where to get them: Esse is available on their website. They have a studio in East Coast (by appointment only).

To Tie For

Who they are: Adeline Loo, who also owns knitting company It Takes Balls, started To Tie For in 2017. 
What they are known for: To Tie For upcycles vintage men’s neckties to create colourful headbands. Each piece is unique and handsewn in Singapore. 
Where to get them: To Tie For is only sold at pop-ups such as Boutiques Fair. You may contact them via [email protected] for enquiries.


Who they are: Susannah Jaffer was a former fashion and beauty editor before she struck out on her own to set up Zerrin in 2017. 
What they are known for: Zerrin is an online multi-label boutique that retails a curation of emerging sustainable fashion and beauty brands. The brands that have made their cut includes Pyar, Esse, and Alcheme.  
Where to get them: Zerrin is an online platform but they occasionally host pop-ups.